Celebrities Who Are Hard of Hearing

Photo by Aleksandr Zykov (Flickr)

Hearing loss does not need to hold anyone back, as we can see by the success of many individuals who are hard of hearing or deaf. Even in Hollywood and professional sports, we see those who have found success and overcome the odds. Hearing-impaired celebrities are more numerous than many people realize. Many celebrities were born with hearing loss, while others have lost some or all of their hearing due to accidents or other traumatic events in life. Celebrities with hearing loss show us all how we can overcome adversity and find success.

Marlee Matlin

At the tender age of 18 months old, Marlee Matlin lost all hearing in her left ear and 80% in her right, but she never let it stifle her love of acting as she grew up. At the age of seven, she joined a theater group, where she was noticed by actor and director Henry Winkler of Happy Days fame. Eventually, she was cast in the main role in the film Children of a Lesser God, for which she won an Academy Award. To date, she is the only deaf actor who has won an Academy Award. As such, she is one of the most famous people with hearing loss in the world.

Derrick Coleman

Another of the most well-known celebrities with hearing loss, this time of NFL fame, is Derrick Coleman. Drafted in 2012 as a fullback for the Seattle Seahawks, he became the first legally deaf offensive player in the league’s history. Derrick is one of the most famous people with hearing aids, currently wearing hearing aids in both ears, though he learned how to read lips on the field in high school. Diagnosed with hearing loss at the age of three, he has overcome bullying from teachers as well as other students in order to become what he is today.

Lance Allred

Lance Allred, another professional sportsman, is also among the ranks of celebrities with hearing loss. The first legally deaf player in NBA history, Allred retired in 2015 from the NBA after a ten-year career and formed his own business, where he does motivational speaking and sports announcing. He also has written a book about growing up deaf and the challenges he faced, and it has won critical acclaim and been featured in several sports magazines.

Leslie Nielsen

One of the most famous hard-of-hearing people has been comedic actor Leslie Nielsen, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 84. Legally deaf for his whole life, he wore hearing aids during most of his adulthood. Nielsen was in more than 100 TV shows and more than 150 movies, and his talent for making people laugh was widely known and appreciated. Along with many other hearing-impaired celebrities, Nielsen was a huge supporter of the Better Hearing Institute.

Shoshannah Stern

Starring in TV shows such as Jericho and Weeds, Shoshannah Stern is another notable entry in the list of famous people with hearing impairment. Stern is fourth-generation hearing-impaired but has always had the drive and desire to be a successful actor. She started in deaf theater shortly after her graduation from college, and her big break came when she was picked up for the cast of Weeds. For those looking for more inspiration, her website is full of interviews and other material about being a successful deaf actress and the challenges she has had to overcome.

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